Housekeeping

November Holiday Cleaning Checklist

A clean house can boost your mood and set the stage for a relaxing retreat at the end of a long day. The holiday season can be hectic, but cleaning doesn’t have to add to your stress. November is the perfect time to get your house in order, so when you are ready to decorate for the holdiays, all you’ll need to do is add the finishing touches and celebrate.

Start Your Cleaning In November

I love my home to feel clean, cozy and comfortable during the holidays. But creating a calm and warm atmosphere can require a little bit of planning and work.  The point of cleaning for the holidays is to reduce stress, so start early, and give yourself time. A clean, organized environment often comes from paying attention to the small details, so this is the time to focus on areas that may have been overlooked.

Declutter

Many people associate decluttering with January, but tackling this project before the holidays will let your holiday decorations take center stage. Decluttering before the holidays will help you feel less overwhelmed and stressed with the influx of more food, more décor, more busyness, more shopping, and gifts that come with the holiday season.

Before the holidays I like to focus on decluttering large items, and general decor that are taking up space. It’s the perfect time to let go of an uncomfortable chair, or the broken table, or decorative accents that no longer suit your style. Don’t let these things bog down your space.

When decluttering smaller items, I find it helpful to consider what is on our family’s Christmas wish list. If you are eying that brand new Ninja Foodie, now might be the time to let go of rarely used kitchen appliances to free up storage space. If you have younger kids who will be getting toys from Santa, helping the kiddos select toys they have grown out of to donate, and discarding broken items will help keep the playroom organized. Encouraging older kids to purge old clothing before the holidays will free up closet space for new wardrobe pieces.

Wash the Walls

Growing up my mother always washed our walls twice a year, granted both my parents were smokers at the time, but I still think it is a good habit to get into even in a smoke free home.

Before washing your walls, you will need to check your wall paint sheen level. For walls with gloss or semi-gloss paint, you’ll be able to use a wet solution and microfiber cloth to thoroughly wash your walls. Eggshell or flat finish walls will need to be dry dusted, so as not to wash the paint off.

To wash your walls, you’ll need to get a flat floor mop or cloth. Make a solution of hot water and dish soap, I like Dawn for this job, and then it’s time to get to work. Work from top to bottom, gently wiping down the walls using the mop or a cloth, change the water as needed.

Hit Those Spots You May Be Overlooking During Your Regular Cleaning Routine

Before you pull out all the holiday decorations make sure to give your house a good old-fashioned deep clean, and spruce up spots you might be overlooking during your regular cleaning routine.

  • Kitchen Cabinet Doors– Even if you spot clean your cabinet doors as needed a good cleaning from top to bottom will brighten up the kitchen.
  • Check the tops of picture frames and mirrors– I always hit these with my microfiber duster, but if they are near the kitchen greasy build up can accumulate on these often unseen surfaces.
  • Under appliances like the fridge and stove – Hello crumb city! Trust me this is worth doing!
  • Clean the inside of cabinets – Empty out your cabinets, and wash the shelves with warm soapy water. While all your pots, pans and dinnerware are out, take the time to purge items you no longer use or need.
  • Clean Inside the window sills – Even if you clean your window glass reqularly, it’s easy to neglect windowsills and tracks. The last thing you want is is to peer out the window to watch freshly falling snow, only to look down and see dusty windowsills and tracks filled with dead bugs. Tackle this project early in the month on a mild day. Use Dawn dish soap and a microfiber cloth to clean windowsills and tracks.
  • Baseboards and door frames-Mr. Clean Magic Erasers easily remove marks, scuffs and grime from baseboards and doorframes!
  • Dust Indoor Plants– Broad leaf houseplants collect dust just like every other surface in your house, to keep your plant healthy and looking great. You can pop smaller plants in the shower for a quick cleaning, but larger plants may need to be wiped by hand with a damp cloth. Support the leaf from below with your hand to prevent tearing.
  • Vacuum Your Heat Vents– Vacuum the vent covers, ideally with a crevice or brush attachment. If there is a lot of build up, remove the vent cover and soak the vent cover in warm, soapy water until the dust and dirt loosens. Wipe clean, and after they’re dry, put the vent covers back.

Wash The Windows

Cleaning glass is an easy housekeeping chore to skip, afterall windows and mirrors seem to start to accumulate fingerprints, dog nose smears, and dust immediately after you’ve cleaned them.

My cousin who is a professional cleaner tipped me on to Sprayway Glass Cleaner Aerosol Spray. This foaming aerosol glass cleaner is great on mirrors and windows and also shines up stainless steel, chrome, tile, and porcelain. The thick foam clings to vertical surfaces, so no puddles or drips to worry about. Use a flat weave microfiber cloth with Sprayway Glass Cleaner for a streak free crystal clear finish.

If you don’t have tilt in windows on your upper level windows, for easy cleaning consider a product like Windex Outdoor, available on Amazon, it’s like a gigantic swiffer, allowing you to reach upper level windows without a ladder and clean the glass quickly and evenly.

Address The Pantry

Long before the holiday baking and cooking you are going to want to spend a little time tackling the pantry. This is so important this time of year because during the holidays, we often find ourselves digging around for spices and ingredients that we don’t often use – think cream of tartar, condensed milk, certain spices, and breadcrumbs.

The pantry is one area of my kitchen that can spiral out of control really quickly. So if your pantry is a little crazy right now, you’re not alone! Get organized in the pantry now, so when it comes time to do your holiday baking, or cook the big Thanksgiving dinner, you don’t have to stress when it comes to finding the things you need.

I like to pull everything out of my pantry, check dates, and make note of anything I need to restock. This is also a good time to evaluate your current organization systems in your pantry, if things feel cramped it might be time to add some storage solutions to make your pantry super functional.

Last year I invested in an expandable 3-Tier Spice Rack to increase the storage space in my spice cabinet. Lazy Susans are perfect for corralling oils, vinegars, and sauces, and shelf risers add more vertical storage space without breaking out the power tools and installing more shelves.

Clean The Carpets

Even if you vacuum weekly, and your carpet looks clean, it may be harboring dirt and dust particles, animal dander and allergens deep within its fibers. Once a year, before the holidays I like to deep clean my carpets. This isn’t your average vacuum session, I usually devote a day to the care of my wall to wall carpeting.

In the past, I have rented carpet deep cleaners from our local hardware store, but have moved away from that due to an increase of bed bugs in our area. A professional carpet cleaning service with a truck mounted cleaning unit is most effective, but unfortunately the most expensive option. Professional carpet cleaners will use cleaning solutions and machines that allow cleaners to saturate the carpet fibers without over-wetting it. Usually the cleaning solutions don’t contain detergents that leave dirt-attracting residue behind. Instead, they remove the dissolved dirt with powerful machines that will allow your carpets to dry quickly.

You can purchase carpet shampooers from almost all large retailers for a DIY approach, this is a great option for pet owners and busy households. While these machines are certainly an investment, It can make short work of ground-in dirt in a way even the best vacuums can’t. If you are considering purchasing a carpet cleaner, I love the Bissell Big Green Machine Professional 86T3, it’s ranked well with Consumer Reports and has a 5 star Amazon Review from over 7,000 users .

If a full carpet cleaning isn’t in the cards for you this season, tackle any spots or stains with a carpet cleaner and old-fashioned elbow crease. Once you’ve taken care of spot treatment consider a treatment like baking soda (you can even add your favorite essential oil) or a carpet deodorizer like Good Natured Brand Saving Grace Carpet & Upholstery Deodorizer, with a Eucalyptus & Lemon scent. Both baking soda and Good Natured Carpet Deodorizer can be sprinkled on your rugs, left to sit 5-15 minutes, and vacuumed up.

Wash the Windows

Cleaning glass is an easy housekeeping chore to skip, afterall windows seem to start to accumulate fingerprints, dog nose smears, and dust immediately after you’ve cleaned them.

My cousin who is a professional cleaner tipped me on to Sprayway Glass Cleaner Aerosol Spray. This foaming aerosol glass cleaner is great on mirrors and windows and also shines up stainless steel, chrome, tile, and porcelain. The thick foam clings to vertical surfaces, so no puddles or drips to worry about. Use a flat weave microfiber cloth with Sprayway Glass Cleaner for a streak free crystal clear finish.

If you don’t have tilt in windows on your upper level windows, for easy cleaning consider a product like Windex Outdoor, available on Amazon, in a spray bottle that attaches to your outdoor hose, allowing you to spray the glass quickly and evenly, and then rinse away the grime with no need for scrubbing.

Wash or Dry Clean Curtains

Curtains provide privacy and coziness to your house, but they can also absorb household odors, particularly cooking odors, and be a magnet for dust and cobwebs.

Before you attempt any curtain cleaning, look at the label and see if there are specific care instructions for your curtains. If the label provides directions like “dry-clean only,” “hand-wash only,” “lay flat to dry,” or any other specific method of cleaning, it’s best to follow that advice.

If your curtains are machine washable, use the gentle cycle, cool or lukewarm water, and mild detergent. If possible, hang on a clothesline to dry, or put them in a clothes dryer on a no-heat or delicate setting.

If you have dry clean only curtains, and are willing to try a home diy curtain refreshment, you could try Dryel (dry cleaning product) that is made to be used in a home dryer, set on low heat. Dryel will deodorize your curtains while removing dust, cobwebs and dander.

Deep Clean The Bathrooms

With the colder weather and holiday festivities comes an increase in germs and illnesses, and it becomes especially important to stay on top of household hygiene. According to a CNN article, bathrooms may be most likely to be “ground zero” for viruses in homes, which makes keeping them clean all the more important.

For the time being, I have opted to remove decorative accents such as candles, plants and signs from my bathrooms so I can easily disinfect surfaces daily, without moving items around. I have enjoyed the minimalist look, and it really does make cleaning easier. While you are deep cleaning your bathroom pay close attention to the walls and floors around the toilet, heating vents and exhaust fan covers.

If you have a jetted tub now is a good time to clean that out too.

How To Clean Bathtub Jets with Basic Household Ingredients

  • Fill the tub with warm water until the jets are covered by 2-3 inches of hot water.
  • Add a dishwasher detergent pod and 1/2 cup of bleach.
  • Run the tub’s jets for 15 minutes.
  • Empty the tub, and refill it (cold water is fine this time we are just flushing out soap residue).
  • Drain the tub and rinse it well to get the gunk off.

Stained grout can really sneak up on you, and can make your bathroom feel more like the New York Subway than a tranquil retreat. If you have ceramic tile and grout that has seen better days ZEP Grout Cleaner and Brightener quickly restores stained grout lines on tile floors without the need for heavy scrubbing.

Another often neglected spot in the bathroom is shower and sink faucets. If hard water and scale has built up on the faucet, you may notice the fixture has a covering of a white or green chalky type coating on it. Try the Tiktok cleaning hack of filling a large Ziploc bag partway with white vinegar. Then, immerse the faucet in vinegar and secure the bag to the faucet with a rubber band. A soak for just 10 to 20 minutes will loosen the built-up grime! Easily brush it away with an old toothbrush.



To help you focus on your holiday deep cleaning this November I created a fun vintage style checklist, you can download it here!

I do all of this deep cleaning in November to set me up for an easy holiday season, and save me from scrambling to get last minute housework done. Not all of these tasks will be relevant for everyone. Do what you can, and remember, the most important task of all is relaxing and enjoying this precious time with loved ones.

Happy holidays!

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